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Smush Parker I Didn't Punch That Kid in the Face!!

EXCLUSIVE
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Ex-L.A. Lakers player Smush Parker is adamant ... he did NOT slug a 16-year-old high school kid in the face during a pickup game in NYC this week -- claiming it was just a hard foul. 

Parker has been under fire after reports surfaced that he got into it with prep star Wolfgang Novogratz last week -- and punched the kid in the face during a heated exchange. 

But Parker's manager James Hunt says it's all B.S. -- claiming there WAS a hard foul between the two ... but no punch was ever thrown.

"Smush did not punch him in the face. It wasn't no assault or anything like that. It was a hard foul. He didn't hit anybody."

In fact, Parker believes the kid's father -- who happens to be the host of the HGTV show "House By Novogratz" -- is intentionally trying to blow the incident out of proportion to get some publicity for his son. 

"The kid's father is trying to use Smush's name as a stepping stone to promote his son to be recruited by these high level Division 1 colleges," Hunt says. 

Hunt says Parker has not reached out to Novogratz about the incident -- because he didn't think it was a big deal at the time, but says, "If the kid needs to be reached out to, those things will definitely take place if need be." For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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